Today’s good read: Sticky ‘Brary librarian Mark discusses the use of Web 2.0 technology versus f2f service in libraries. Why is this a great post? Well, he touches on four important issues:

1) Differentiation – One issue marketing books stress is that in order to do good marketing, you need to decide what your brand is about, and build your marketing around that. Libraries are about the most local of institutions you can get (except maybe the schools), and I think that’s an integral part of our “brand.” I like to think we should be a lot like Cheers – a place where you can come and everybody knows your name.

2) Segmentation – I confess, I’m a technology freak too. But we need to realize that while all the people we know are having a great time playing with the new technology, there are a lot of people that don’t want to get anywhere near it. Yes, I want to do Library 2.0 stuff to reach my younger or tech-savvy patrons, but I still have a large constituency who doesn’t go there, and I won’t abandon them.

3) Planning! – Related to that, it’s great to offer lots of neat stuff, but we don’t have the time or the resources to throw every new idea against the wall to see what sticks. Moreover, without a way to integrate new services into our existing operations and really market them, we risk spending a lot of time implementing things only to see them falter from lack of patron awareness or interest, or lack of time or knowledge or time on our part.

4) Funding issues – Remember what they say, all politics is local. When it comes down to deciding whether to fund my library or not, it’s going to be the people in my town who will be the most influential, not the people I’m reaching outside this community. To end this where I started, I believe part of our “brand” is that we’re a local institution, and that’s what we’re here for – to give all our citizens, young and old, the services they want in the most cost-efficient way possible.